Hong Kong Customs cracks down on syndicate accused of $2.5b money laundering

Six persons were arrested in the operation named “Shadow Hunter II”.

Hong Kong Customs has arrested six persons involved in a syndicate that has laundered some $2.5b through the special administrative region.

The persons, arrested between 15 and 19 April, included five men and one woman aged between 23 and 50.

They suspects were seized for “dealing with property known or reasonably believed to represent proceeds of an indictable offence (commonly known as money laundering),” Hong Kong Customs said.

The operations started upon receipt of intelligence about the suspected money laundering syndicate last year.

In its initial investigations, Customs officers found the six arrested opened about 60 personal bank accounts at various banks in Hong Kong. They have also made over 2,600 suspicious transactions, amounting to $2.5b between January 2018 and February 2020.

Hong Kong Customs added that four of those arrested were core members of the syndicate. The two others were suspected to have been recruited.

Investigation is still ongoing, Customs said, noting further arrests are not ruled out.

“Customs stresses that those using personal bank accounts to deal with money from unknown sources, regardless of whether monetary reward is involved, may risk committing the crime of money laundering,” the government warned.

Under the Organized and Serious Crimes Ordinance, persons involved in money laundering may face a fine worth up to $5m and jail time of up to 14 years.

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